Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 81

Influence of Infrared Radiation on the Growth Rate of Microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana

Nowadays, the progressive decrease of primary natural resources and ongoing upward trend in terms of energy demand, have resulted in development of new generation technological processes which are focused on step-wise production and residues utilization. Thus, microalgae-based 3rd generation bioeconomy is considered one of the most promising approaches that allow production of value-added products and sophisticated utilization of residues biomass. In comparison to conventional biomass, microalgae can be cultivated in wide range of conditions without compromising food and feed production, and thus, addressing issues associated with negative social and environmental impacts. However, one of the most challenging tasks is to undergo seasonal variations and to achieve optimal growing conditions for indoor closed systems that can cover further demand for material and energetic utilization of microalgae. For instance, outdoor cultivation in St. Petersburg (Russia) is only suitable within rather narrow time frame (from mid-May to mid-September). At earlier and later periods, insufficient sunlight and heat for the growth of microalgae were detected. On the other hand, without additional physical effects, the biomass increment in summer is 3-5 times per week, depending on the solar radiation and the ambient temperature. In order to increase biomass production, scientists from all over the world have proposed various technical solutions for cultivators and have been studying the influence of various physical factors affecting biomass growth namely: magnetic field, radiation impact, and electric field, etc. In this paper, the influence of infrared radiation (IR) and fluorescent light on the growth rate of microalgae Chlorella sorokiniana has been studied. The cultivation of Chlorella sorokiniana was carried out in 500 ml cylindrical glass vessels, which were constantly aerated. To accelerate the cultivation process, the mixture was stirred for 15 minutes at 500 rpm following 120 minutes of rest time. At the same time, the metabolic needs in nutrients were provided by the addition of micro- and macro-nutrients in the microalgae growing medium. Lighting was provided by fluorescent lamps with the intensity of 2500 ± 300 lx. The influence of IR was determined using IR lamps with a voltage of 220 V, power of 250 W, in order to achieve the intensity of 13 600 ± 500 lx. The obtained results show that under the influence of fluorescent lamps along with the combined effect of active aeration and variable mixing, the biomass increment on the 2nd day was three times, and on the 7th day, it was eight-fold. The growth rate of microalgae under the influence of IR radiation was lower and has reached 22.6·106 cells·mL-1. However, application of IR lamps for the biomass growth allows maintaining the optimal temperature of microalgae suspension at approximately 25-28°C, which might especially be beneficial during the cold season in extreme climate zones.

Application of Biomass Ashes as Supplementary Cementitious Materials in the Cement Mortar Production

The production of low cost and environmentally friendly products represents an important step for developing countries. Biomass is one of the largest renewable energy sources, and Serbia is among the top European countries in terms of the amount of available and unused biomass. Substituting cement with the ashes obtained by the combustion of biomass would reduce the negative impact of concrete industry on the environment and would provide a waste valorization by the reuse of this type of by-product in mortars and concretes manufacture. The study contains data on physical properties, chemical characteristics and pozzolanic properties of obtained biomass ashes: wheat straw ash and mixture of wheat and soya straw ash in Serbia, which were, later, used as supplementary cementitious materials in preparation of mortars. Experimental research of influence of biomass ashes on physical and mechanical properties of cement mortars was conducted. The results indicate that the biomass ashes can be successfully used in mortars as substitutes of cement without compromising their physical and mechanical performances.

Conical Spouted Bed Combustor for Combustion of Vine Shoots Wastes

In order to prove the applicability of a conical spouted bed combustor for the thermal exploitation of vineyard pruning wastes, the flow regimes of beds consisting of vine shoot beds and an inert bed were established under different operating conditions. The effect of inlet air temperature on the minimum spouted velocity was evaluated. Batch combustion of vine shoots in a conical spouted bed combustor was conducted at temperatures in the range 425-550 ºC with an inert bed. The experimental values of combustion efficiency of vine shoot calculated from the concentration the exhaust gases were assessed. The high experimental combustion efficiency obtained evidenced the proper suitability of the conical spouted bed combustor for the thermal combustion of vine shoots.

The Mechanism Study of Degradative Solvent Extraction of Biomass by Liquid Membrane-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy

Degradative solvent extraction is the method developed for biomass upgrading by dewatering and fractionation of biomass under the mild condition. However, the conversion mechanism of the degradative solvent extraction method has not been fully understood so far. The rice straw was treated in 1-methylnaphthalene (1-MN) at a different solvent-treatment temperature varied from 250 to 350 oC with the residence time for 60 min. The liquid membrane-Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) technique is applied to study the processing mechanism in-depth without separation of the solvent. It has been found that the strength of the oxygen-hydrogen stretching  (3600-3100 cm-1) decreased slightly with increasing temperature in the range of 300-350 oC. The decrease of the hydroxyl group in the solvent soluble suggested dehydration reaction taking place between 300 and 350 oC. FTIR spectra in the carbonyl stretching region (1800-1600 cm-1) revealed the presence of esters groups, carboxylic acid and ketonic groups in the solvent-soluble of biomass. The carboxylic acid increased in the range of 200 to 250 oC and then decreased. The prevailing of aromatic groups showed that the aromatization took place during extraction at above 250 oC. From 300 to 350 oC, the carbonyl functional groups in the solvent-soluble noticeably decreased. The removal of the carboxylic acid and the decrease of esters into the form of carbon dioxide indicated that the decarboxylation reaction occurred during the extraction process.

Physicochemical Characterization of Waste from Vegetal Extracts Industry for Use as Briquettes

Wastes from a vegetal extracts industry (cocoa, oak, Guarana and mate) were characterized by particle size, proximate and ultimate analysis, lignocellulosic fractions, high heating value, thermal analysis (Thermogravimetric analysis – TGA, and Differential thermal analysis - DTA) and energy density to evaluate their potential as biomass in the form of briquettes for power generation. All wastes presented adequate particle sizes to briquettes production. The wastes showed high moisture content, requiring previous drying for use as briquettes. Cocoa and oak wastes had the highest volatile matter contents with maximum mass loss at 310 ºC and 450 ºC, respectively. The solvents used in the aroma extraction process influenced in the moisture content of the wastes, which was higher for mate due to water has been used as solvent. All wastes showed an insignificant loss mass after 565 °C, hence resulting in low ash content. High carbon and hydrogen contents and low sulfur and nitrogen contents were observed ensuring a low generation of sulfur and nitrous oxides. Mate and cocoa exhibited the highest carbon and lignin content, and high heating value. The dried wastes had high heating value, from 17.1 MJ/kg to 20.8 MJ/kg. The results indicate the energy potential of wastes for use as fuel in power generation.

Ethanol and Biomass Production from Spent Sulfite Liquor by Filamentous Fungi

Since filamentous fungi are capable of assimilating several types of sugars (hexoses and pentoses), they are potential candidates for bioconversion of spent sulfite liquor (SSL). Three filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus oryzae, Mucor indicus, and Rhizopus oryzae were investigated in this work. The SSL was diluted in order to obtain concentrations of 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% and supplemented with two types of nutrients. The results from cultivations in shake flask showed that A. oryzae and M. indicus were not able to grow in pure SSL and SSL90% while R. oryzae could grow only in SSL50% and SSL60%. Cultivation with A. oryzae resulted in the highest yield of produced fungal biomass, while R. oryzae cultivation resulted in the lowest fungal biomass yield. Although, the mediums containing yeast extract, (NH4)2SO4, KH2PO4, CaCl2∙2H2O, and MgSO4∙7H2O as nutrients supplementations produced higher fungal biomass compared to the mediums containing NH4H2PO4 and ammonia, but there was no significant difference between two types of nutrients in terms of sugars and acetic acid consumption rate. The sugars consumption in M. indicus cultivation was faster than A. oryzae and R. oryzae cultivation. Acetic acid present in SSL was completely consumed during cultivation of all fungi. M. indicus was the best and fastest ethanol producer from SSL among the fungi examined, when yeast extract and salts were used as nutrients supplementations. Furthermore, no further improvement in ethanol concentration and rate of sugars consumption was obtained in medium supplemented with NH4H2PO4 and ammonia compared to medium containing yeast extract, (NH4)2SO4, KH2PO4, CaCl2∙2H2O, and MgSO4∙7H2O. On the other hand, the higher dilution of SSL resulted in a better fermentability, and better consumption of sugars and acetic acid.

Evaluation of Electro-Flocculation for Biomass Production of Marine Microalgae Phaodactylum tricornutum

The commercial production of biodiesel using microalgae demands a high-energy input for harvesting biomass, making production economically unfeasible. Methods currently used involve mechanical, chemical, and biological procedures. In this work, a flocculation system is presented as a cost and energy effective process to increase biomass production of Phaeodactylum tricornutum. This diatom is the only species of the genus that present fast growth and lipid accumulation ability that are of great interest for biofuel production. The algae, selected from the Bank of Microalgae, Institute of Biology, Federal University of Bahia (Brazil), have been bred in tubular reactor with photoperiod of 12 h (clear/dark), providing luminance of about 35 μmol photons m-2s-1, and temperature of 22 °C. The medium used for growing cells was the Conway medium, with addition of silica. The seaweed growth curve was accompanied by cell count in Neubauer camera and by optical density in spectrophotometer, at 680 nm. The precipitation occurred at the end of the stationary phase of growth, 21 days after inoculation, using two methods: centrifugation at 5000 rpm for 5 min, and electro-flocculation at 19 EPD and 95 W. After precipitation, cells were frozen at -20 °C and, subsequently, lyophilized. Biomass obtained by electro-flocculation was approximately four times greater than the one achieved by centrifugation. The benefits of this method are that no addition of chemical flocculants is necessary and similar cultivation conditions can be used for the biodiesel production and pharmacological purposes. The results may contribute to improve biodiesel production costs using marine microalgae.

A Comparative Study on Biochar from Slow Pyrolysis of Corn Cob and Cassava Wastes

Biomass such as corn and cassava wastes if left to decay will release significant quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide and methane. The biomass wastes can be converted into biochar via thermochemical process such as slow pyrolysis. This approach can reduce the biomass wastes as well as preserve its carbon content. Biochar has the potential to be used as a carbon sequester and soil amendment. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome in order to identify their potential as pyrolysis feedstocks for biochar production. This was achieved by using the proximate and elemental analyses as well as calorific value and lignocellulosic determination. The second objective is to investigate the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the biochar produced. A fixed bed slow pyrolysis reactor was used to pyrolyze the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome. The pyrolysis temperatures were varied between 400 °C and 600 °C, while the heating rate and the holding time were fixed at 5 °C/min and 1 hour, respectively. Corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome were found to be suitable feedstocks for pyrolysis process because they contained a high percentage of volatile matter more than 80 mf wt.%. All the three feedstocks contained low nitrogen and sulphur content less than 1 mf wt.%. Therefore, during the pyrolysis process, the feedstocks give off very low rate of GHG such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Independent of the types of biomass, the percentage of biochar yield is inversely proportional to the pyrolysis temperature. The highest biochar yield for each studied temperature is from slow pyrolysis of cassava rhizome as the feedstock contained the highest percentage of ash compared to the other two feedstocks. The percentage of fixed carbon in all the biochars increased as the pyrolysis temperature increased. The increment of pyrolysis temperature from 400 °C to 600 °C increased the fixed carbon of corn cob biochar, cassava stem biochar and cassava rhizome biochar by 26.35%, 10.98%, and 6.20% respectively. Irrespective of the pyrolysis temperature, all the biochars produced were found to contain more than 60 mf wt.% fixed carbon content, much higher than its feedstocks.

The Effect of Feedstock Type and Slow Pyrolysis Temperature on Biochar Yield from Coconut Wastes

The first objective of this study is to investigate the suitability of coconut frond (CF) and coconut husk (CH) as feedstocks using a laboratory-scale slow pyrolysis experimental setup. The second objective is to investigate the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the biochar yield. The properties of CF and CH feedstocks were compared. The properties of the CF and CH feedstocks were investigated using proximate and elemental analysis, lignocellulosic determination, and also thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The CF and CH feedstocks were pyrolysed at 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700 °C for 2 hours at 10 °C/min heating rate. The proximate analysis showed that CF feedstock has 89.96 mf wt% volatile matter, 4.67 mf wt% ash content and 5.37 mf wt% fixed carbon. The lignocelluloses analysis showed that CF feedstock contained 21.46% lignin, 39.05% cellulose and 22.49% hemicelluloses. The CH feedstock contained 84.13 mf wt% volatile matter, 0.33 mf wt% ash content, 15.54 mf wt% fixed carbon, 28.22% lignin, 33.61% cellulose and 22.03% hemicelluloses. Carbon and oxygen are the major component of the CF and CH feedstock compositions. Both of CF and CH feedstocks contained very low percentage of sulfur, 0.77% and 0.33%, respectively. TGA analysis indicated that coconut wastes are easily degraded. It may be due to their high volatile content. Between the temperature ranges of 300 and 800 °C, the TGA curves showed that the weight percentage of CF feedstock is lower than CH feedstock by 0.62%-5.88%. From the D TGA curves, most of the weight loss occurred between 210 and 400 °C for both feedstocks. The maximum weight loss for both CF and CH are 0.0074 wt%/min and 0.0061 wt%/min, respectively, which occurred at 324.5 °C. The yield percentage of both CF and CH biochars decreased significantly as the pyrolysis temperature was increased. For CF biochar, the yield decreased from 49.40 wt% to 28.12 wt% as the temperature increased from 300 to 700 °C. The yield for CH biochars also decreased from 52.18 wt% to 28.72 wt%. The findings of this study indicated that both CF and CH are suitable feedstock for slow pyrolysis of biochar.

Rubber Wood as a Potential Biomass Feedstock for Biochar via Slow Pyrolysis
Utilisation of biomass feedstock for biochar has received increasing attention because of their potential for carbon sequestration and soil amendment. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of rubber wood as a biomass feedstock for biochar via slow pyrolysis process. This was achieved by using proximate, ultimate, and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) as well as heating value, pH and lignocellulosic determination. Rubber wood contains 4.13 mf wt.% moisture, 86.30 mf wt.% volatile matter, 0.60 mf wt.% ash content, and 13.10 mf wt.% fixed carbon. The ultimate analysis shows that rubber wood consists of 44.33 mf wt.% carbon, 6.26 mf wt.% hydrogen, 19.31 mf wt.% nitrogen, 0.31 mf wt.% sulphur, and 29.79 mf wt.% oxygen. The higher heating value of rubber wood is 22.5 MJ/kg, and its lower heating value is 21.2 MJ/kg. At 27 °C, the pH value of rubber wood is 6.83 which is acidic. The lignocellulosic analysis revealed that rubber wood composition consists of 2.63 mf wt.% lignin, 20.13 mf wt.% cellulose, and 65.04 mf wt.% hemicellulose. The volatile matter to fixed carbon ratio is 6.58. This led to a biochar yield of 25.14 wt.% at 500 °C. Rubber wood is an environmental friendly feedstock due to its low sulphur content. Rubber wood therefore is a suitable and a potential feedstock for biochar production via slow pyrolysis.
Production and Purification of Monosaccharides by Hydrolysis of Sugar Cane Bagasse in an Ionic Liquid Medium

The conversion of lignocellulosic waste materials, such as sugar cane bagasse, to biofuels such as ethanol has attracted significant interest as a potential element for transforming transport fuel supplies to totally renewable sources. However, the refractory nature of the cellulosic structure of lignocellulosic materials has impeded progress on developing an economic process, whereby the cellulose component may be effectively broken down to glucose monosaccharides and then purified to allow downstream fermentation. Ionic liquid (IL) treatment of lignocellulosic biomass has been shown to disrupt the crystalline structure of cellulose thus potentially enabling the cellulose to be more readily hydrolysed to monosaccharides. Furthermore, conventional hydrolysis of lignocellulosic materials yields byproducts that are inhibitors for efficient fermentation of the monosaccharides. However, selective extraction of monosaccharides from an aqueous/IL phase into an organic phase utilizing a combination of boronic acids and quaternary amines has shown promise as a purification process. Hydrolysis of sugar cane bagasse immersed in an aqueous solution with IL (1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate) was conducted at different pH and temperature below 100 ºC. It was found that the use of a high concentration of hydrochloric acid to acidify the solution inhibited the hydrolysis of bagasse. At high pH (i.e. basic conditions), using sodium hydroxide, catalyst yields were reduced for total reducing sugars (TRS) due to the rapid degradation of the sugars formed. For purification trials, a supported liquid membrane (SLM) apparatus was constructed, whereby a synthetic solution containing xylose and glucose in an aqueous IL phase was transported across a membrane impregnated with phenyl boronic acid/Aliquat 336 to an aqueous phase. The transport rate of xylose was generally higher than that of glucose indicating that a SLM scheme may not only be useful for purifying sugars from undesirable toxic compounds, but also for fractionating sugars to improve fermentation efficiency.

Ethyl Methane Sulfonate-Induced Dunaliella salina KU11 Mutants Affected for Growth Rate, Cell Accumulation and Biomass

Dunaliella salina has great potential as a system for generating commercially valuable products, including beta-carotene, pharmaceuticals, and biofuels. Our goal is to improve this potential by enhancing growth rate and other properties of D. salina under optimal growth conditions. We used ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS) to generate random mutants in D. salina KU11, a strain classified in Thailand. In a preliminary experiment, we first treated D. salina cells with 0%, 0.8%, 1.0%, 1.2%, 1.44% and 1.66% EMS to generate a killing curve. After that, we randomly picked 30 candidates from approximately 300 isolated survivor colonies from the 1.44% EMS treatment (which permitted 30% survival) as an initial test of the mutant screen. Among the 30 survivor lines, we found that 2 strains (mutant #17 and #24) had significantly improved growth rates and cell number accumulation at stationary phase approximately up to 1.8 and 1.45 fold, respectively, 2 strains (mutant #6 and #23) had significantly decreased growth rates and cell number accumulation at stationary phase approximately down to 1.4 and 1.35 fold, respectively, while 26 of 30 lines had similar growth rates compared with the wild type control. We also analyzed cell size for each strain and found there was no significant difference comparing all mutants with the wild type. In addition, mutant #24 had shown an increase of biomass accumulation approximately 1.65 fold compared with the wild type strain on day 5 that was entering early stationary phase. From these preliminary results, it could be feasible to identify D. salina mutants with significant improved growth rate, cell accumulation and biomass production compared to the wild type for the further study; this makes it possible to improve this microorganism as a platform for biotechnology application.

Effect of Equivalence Ratio on Performance of Fluidized Bed Gasifier Run with Sized Biomass
Recently, fluidized bed gasification becomes an attractive technology for power generation due to its higher efficiency. The main objective pursued in this work is to investigate the producer gas production potential from sized biomass (sawdust and pigeon pea) by applying the air gasification technique. The size of the biomass selected for the study was in the range of 0.40-0.84 mm. An experimental study was conducted using a fluidized bed gasifier with 210 mm diameter and 1600 mm height. During the experiments, the fuel properties and the effects of operating parameters such as gasification temperatures 700 to 900 °C, equivalence ratio 0.16 to 0.46 were studied. It was concluded that substantial amounts of producer gas (up to 1110 kcal/m3) could be produced utilizing biomass such as sawdust and pigeon pea by applying this fluidization technique. For both samples, the rise of temperature till 900 °C and equivalence ratio of 0.4 favored further gasification reactions and resulted into producer gas with calorific value 1110 kcal/m3.
Comparison of MODIS-Based Rice Extent Map and Landsat-Based Rice Classification Map in Determining Biomass Energy Potential of Rice Hull in Nueva Ecija, Philippines
The underutilization of biomass resources in the Philippines, combined with its growing population and the rise in fossil fuel prices confirms demand for alternative energy sources. The goal of this paper is to provide a comparison of MODIS-based and Landsat-based agricultural land cover maps when used in the estimation of rice hull’s available energy potential. Biomass resource assessment was done using mathematical models and remote sensing techniques employed in a GIS platform.
Use of Carica papaya as a Bio-Sorbent for Removal of Heavy Metals in Wastewater
The study assessed the effectiveness of Pawpaw (Carica papaya) wood in reducing the concentrations of heavy metals in wastewater acting as a bio-sorbent. The following heavy metals were considered; Zinc, Cadmium, Lead, Copper, Iron, Selenium, Nickel and Manganese. The physiochemical properties of Carica papaya stem were studied. The experimental sample was sourced from the trunk of a felled matured pawpaw tree. Wastewater for experimental use was prepared by dissolving soil samples collected from a dump site at Owerri, Imo state of Nigeria in water. The concentration of each metal remaining in solution as residual metal after bio-sorption was determined using Atomic absorption Spectrometer. The effects of pH and initial heavy metal concentration were studied in a batch reactor. The results of Spectrometer test showed that there were different functional groups detected in the Carica papaya stem biomass. There was increase in metal removal as the pH increased for all the metals considered except for Nickel and Manganese. Optimum bio-sorption occurred at pH 5.9 with 5g/100ml solution of bio-sorbent. The results of the study showed that the treated wastewater is fit for irrigation purpose based on Canada wastewater quality guideline for the protection of Agricultural standard. This approach thus provides a cost effective and environmentally friendly option for treating wastewater.
Torrefaction of Biomass Pellets: Modeling of the Process in a Fixed Bed Reactor

Torrefaction of biomass pellets is considered as a useful pretreatment technology in order to convert them into a high quality solid biofuel that is more suitable for pyrolysis, gasification, combustion, and co-firing applications. In the course of torrefaction, the temperature varies across the pellet, and therefore chemical reactions proceed unevenly within the pellet. However, the uniformity of the thermal distribution along the pellet is generally assumed. The torrefaction process of a single cylindrical pellet is modeled here, accounting for heat transfer coupled with chemical kinetics. The drying sub-model was also introduced. The nonstationary process of wood pellet decomposition is described by the system of non-linear partial differential equations over the temperature and mass. The model captures well the main features of the experimental data.

Effects of Initial Moisture Content on the Physical and Mechanical Properties of Norway Spruce Briquettes
The moisture content of densified biomass is a limiting parameter influencing the quality of this solid biofuel. It influences its calorific value, density, mechanical strength and dimensional stability as well as affecting its production process. This paper deals with experimental research into the effect of moisture content of the densified material on the final quality of biofuel in the form of logs (briquettes or pellets). Experiments based on the singleaxis densification of the spruce sawdust were carried out with a hydraulic piston press (piston and die), where the densified logs were produced at room temperature. The effect of moisture content on the qualitative properties of the logs, including density, change of moisture, expansion and physical changes, and compressive and impact resistance were studied. The results show the moisture ranges required for producing good-quality logs. The experiments were evaluated and the moisture content of the tested material was optimized to achieve the optimum value for the best quality of the solid biofuel. The dense logs also have high-energy content per unit volume. The research results could be used to develop and optimize industrial technologies and machinery for biomass densification to achieve high quality solid biofuel.
Electric Field Impact on the Biomass Gasification and Combustion Dynamics

Experimental investigations of the DC electric field effect on thermal decomposition of biomass, formation of the axial flow of volatiles (CO, H2, CxHy), mixing of volatiles with swirling airflow at low swirl intensity (S ≈ 0.2-0.35), their ignition and on formation of combustion dynamics are carried out with the aim to understand the mechanism of electric field influence on biomass gasification, combustion of volatiles and heat energy production. The DC electric field effect on combustion dynamics was studied by varying the positive bias voltage of the central electrode from 0.6 kV to 3 kV, whereas the ion current was limited to 2 mA. The results of experimental investigations confirm the field-enhanced biomass gasification with enhanced release of volatiles and the development of endothermic processes at the primary stage of thermochemical conversion of biomass determining the field-enhanced heat energy consumption with the correlating decrease of the flame temperature and heat energy production at this stage of flame formation. Further, the field-enhanced radial expansion of the flame reaction zone correlates with a more complete combustion of volatiles increasing the combustion efficiency by 3% and decreasing the mass fraction of CO, H2 and CxHy in the products, whereas by 10% increases the average volume fraction of CO2 and the heat energy production downstream the combustor increases by 5-10% 

Analysis of a Lignocellulose Degrading Microbial Consortium to Enhance the Anaerobic Digestion of Rice Straws

Rice straw is lignocellulosic biomass which can be utilized as substrate for the biogas production. However, due to the property and composition of rice straw, it is difficult to be degraded by hydrolysis enzymes. One of the pretreatment methods that modify such properties of lignocellulosic biomass is the application of lignocellulose-degrading microbial consortia. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of microbial consortia to enhance biogas production. To select the high efficient consortium, cellulase enzymes were extracted and their activities were analyzed. The results suggested that microbial consortium culture obtained from cattle manure is the best candidate compared to decomposed wood and horse manure. A microbial consortium isolated from cattle manure was then mixed with anaerobic sludge and used as inoculum for biogas production. The optimal conditions for biogas production were investigated using response surface methodology (RSM). The tested parameters were the ratio of amount of microbial consortium isolated and amount of anaerobic sludge (MI:AS), substrate to inoculum ratio (S:I) and temperature. Here, the value of the regression coefficient R2 = 0.7661 could be explained by the model which is high to advocate the significance of the model. The highest cumulative biogas yield was 104.6 ml/g-rice straw at optimum ratio of MI:AS, ratio of S:I, and temperature of 2.5:1, 15:1 and 44°C respectively.

Optimization of Diluted Organic Acid Pretreatment on Rice Straw Using Response Surface Methodology

Lignocellolusic material is a substance that is resistant to be degraded by microorganisms or hydrolysis enzymes. To be used as materials for biofuel production, it needs pretreatment process to improve efficiency of hydrolysis. In this work, chemical pretreatments on rice straw using three diluted organic acids, including acetic acid, citric acid, oxalic acid, were optimized. Using Response Surface Methodology (RSM), the effect of three pretreatment parameters, acid concentration, treatment time, and reaction temperature, on pretreatment efficiency were statistically evaluated. The results indicated that dilute oxalic acid pretreatment led to the highest enhancement of enzymatic saccharification by commercial cellulase and yielded sugar up to 10.67 mg/ml when using 5.04% oxalic acid at 137.11 oC for 30.01 min. Compared to other acid pretreatment by acetic acid, citric acid, and hydrochloric acid, the maximum sugar yields are 7.07, 6.30, and 8.53 mg/ml, respectively. Here, it was demonstrated that organic acids can be used for pretreatment of lignocellulosic materials to enhance of hydrolysis process, which could be integrated to other applications for various biorefinery processes. 

Allometric Models for Biomass Estimation in Savanna Woodland Area, Niger State, Nigeria

The development of allometric models is crucial to accurate forest biomass/carbon stock assessment. The aim of this study was to develop a set of biomass prediction models that will enable the determination of total tree aboveground biomass for savannah woodland area in Niger State, Nigeria. Based on the data collected through biometric measurements of 1816 trees and destructive sampling of 36 trees, five species specific and one site specific models were developed. The sample size was distributed equally between the five most dominant species in the study site (Vitellaria paradoxa, Irvingia gabonensis, Parkia biglobosa, Anogeissus leiocarpus, Pterocarpus erinaceous). Firstly, the equations were developed for five individual species. Secondly these five species were mixed and were used to develop an allometric equation of mixed species. Overall, there was a strong positive relationship between total tree biomass and the stem diameter. The coefficient of determination (R2 values) ranging from 0.93 to 0.99 P < 0.001 were realised for the models; with considerable low standard error of the estimates (SEE) which confirms that the total tree above ground biomass has a significant relationship with the dbh. F-test values for the biomass prediction models were also significant at p < 0.001 which indicates that the biomass prediction models are valid. This study recommends that for improved biomass estimates in the study site, the site specific biomass models should preferably be used instead of using generic models.

Comparison of Growth and Biomass of Red Alga Cultured on Rope and Net

This research has been conducted to study the method of culture and comparing growth and biomass of Gracilaria corticata cultured on rope and net for 50 days through two treatments (first treatment: culture of alga on net and the second treatment: culture of alga on rope and each treatment was repeated by four cases). During culture period, the water of aquariums was replaced once every two days for 40-50%. Also, 0.3-0.5 grams of urea fertilizer was added to the culture environment for fertilization. Moreover, some of the environmental factors such as pH, salinity and temperature of the environment were measured on a daily basis. During the culture period, extent of longitudinal growth of the species of both treatments was equal. The said length was reached from 8-10 cm to 10.5-13 cm accordingly. The resulted weight in repetitions of the first treatment was higher than that of the second treatment in such a way as in the first treatment, its weight reached from 10 grams to 21.119 grams and in the second treatment, its weight reached from 10 grams to 17.663 grams. On a whole, it may be stated that that kind of alga being studied has a considerable growth with respect to its volume. The results have revealed that the percentage of daily growth and wet weight at the end of the first treatment was higher than that of the second treatment and it was registered as 0.934, 6.072 and 811.432 in the first treatment and 0.797, 4.990 and 758.071 in the second treatment respectively. This difference is significant (P<0.05). Growth and biomass of G. corticata through culture on net was more emphasizing on numerous branches due to wider bed. Moreover, higher level of the species in this method was exposed to sunlight and this increased biosynthesis and eventually increases of growth and biomass.

Cogeneration Unit for Small Stove

This paper shows an experimental testing of a small unit for combustion of solid fuels, such as charcoal and wood logs, that can provide electricity. One of the concepts is that the unit does not require qualified personnel for its operation. The unit itself is composed of two main parts. The design requires a heat producing stove and electricity producing thermoelectric generator. After the construction the unit was tested and the results show that the emission release is within the legislative requirements for emission production and environmental protection. That qualifies such unit for indoor application.

Atmospheric Fluid Bed Gasification of Different Biomass Fuels

This paper shortly describes various types of biomass and a growing number of facilities utilizing the biomass in the Czech Republic. The considerable part of this paper deals with energy parameters of the most frequently used types of biomass and results of their gasification testing. Sixteen most used "Czech" woody plants and grasses were selected; raw, element and biochemical analyses were performed and basic calorimetric values, ash composition, and ash characteristic temperatures were identified. Later, each biofuel was tested in a fluidized bed gasifier. The essential part of this paper provides results of the gasification of selected biomass types. Operating conditions are described in detail with a focus on individual fuels properties. Gas composition and impurities content are also identified. In terms of operating conditions and gas quality, the essential difference occurred mainly between woody plants and grasses. The woody plants were evaluated as more suitable fuels for fluidized bed gasifiers. Testing results significantly help with a decision-making process regarding suitability of energy plants for growing and with a selection of optimal biomass-treatment technology.

Role of Biorefining and Biomass Utilization in Environmental Control

The continuous decline of petroleum and natural gas reserves and non linear rise of oil price has brought about a realisation of the need for a change in our perpetual dependence on the fossil fuel. A day to day increased consumption of crude and petroleum products has made a considerable impact on our foreign exchange reserves. Hence, an alternate resource for the conversion of energy (both liquid and gas) is essential for the substitution of conventional fuels. Biomass is the alternate solution for the present scenario. Biomass can be converted into both liquid as well as gaseous fuels and other feedstocks for the industries.

Efficient Utilization of Biomass for Bioenergy in Environmental Control

The continuous decline of petroleum and natural gas reserves and non linear rise of oil price has brought about a realisation of the need for a change in our perpetual dependence on the fossil fuel. A day to day increased consumption of crude and petroleum products has made a considerable impact on our foreign exchange reserves. Hence, an alternate resource for the conversion of energy (both liquid and gas) is essential for the substitution of conventional fuels. Biomass is the alternate solution for the present scenario. Biomass can be converted into both liquid as well as gaseous fuels and other feedstocks for the industries.

Evaluation of Biomass Introduction Methods in Coal Co-Gasification

Heightened concerns over the amount of carbon emitted from coal-related processes are generating shifts to the application of biomass. In co-gasification, where coal is gasified along with biomass, the biomass may be fed together with coal (cofeeding) or an independent biomass gasifier needs to be integrated with the coal gasifier. The main aim of this work is to evaluate the biomass introduction methods in coal co-gasification. This includes the evaluation of biomass concentration input (B0 to B100) and its gasification performance. A process model is developed and simulated in Aspen HYSYS, where both coal and biomass are modelled according to its ultimate analysis. It was found that the syngas produced increased with increasing biomass content for both co-feeding and independent schemes. However, the heating values and heat duties decreases with biomass concentration as more CO2 are produced from complete combustion.

Synthesis of Novel Nanostructured Catalysts for Pyrolysis of Biomass

Nanostructured catalysts were successfully prepared by acidification of diatomite and regeneration of FCC spent catalysts. The obtained samples were characterized by IR, XRD, SEM, EDX, MAS-NMR (27Al and 29Si), NH3-TPD and tested in catalytic pyrolysis of biomass (rice straw). The results showed that the similar bio-oil yield of 41.4% can be obtained by pyrolysis with catalysts at 450oC as compared to that of the pyrolysis without catalyst at 550oC. The bio-oil yield reached a maximum of 42.55% at the pyrolysis temperature of 500oC with catalytic content of 20%. Moreover, by catalytic pyrolysis, bio-oil quality was better as reflected in higher ratio of H/C, lower ratio of O/C. This clearly indicated high application potential of these new nanostructured catalysts in the production of bio-oil with low oxygenated compounds.

Biomass Gasification and Microcogeneration Unit – EZOB Technology

This paper deals with the issue of biomass and sorted municipal waste gasification and cogeneration using hot-air turbo-set. It brings description of designed pilot plant with electrical output 80 kWe. The generated gas is burned in secondary combustion chamber located beyond the gas generator. Flue gas flows through the heat exchanger where the compressed air is heated and consequently brought to a micro turbine. Except description, this paper brings our basic experiences from operating of pilot plant (operating parameters, contributions, problems during operating, etc.). The principal advantage of the given cycle is the fact that there is no contact between the generated gas and the turbine. So there is no need for costly and complicated gas cleaning which is the main source of operating problems in direct use in combustion engines because the content of impurities in the gas causes operation problems to the units due to clogging and tarring of working surfaces of engines and turbines, which may lead as far as serious damage to the equipment under operation. Another merit is the compact container package making installation of the facility easier or making it relatively more mobile. We imagine, this solution of cogeneration from biomass or waste can be suitable for small industrial or communal applications, for low output cogeneration.

BasWilCalc – Basket Willow (Salix viminalis) Biomass Yield Calculator

The aim of the paper was to elaborate a novel calculator BasWilCalc, that allows to estimate the actual amount of biomass on the basket willow plantations. The proposed method is based on the results of field experiment conducted during years  2011-2013 on basket willow plantation in the south-western part of Poland. As input data the results of destructive measurements of the diameter, length and weight of willow stems and non-destructive biometric measurements of diameter in the middle of stems and their length during the growing season performed at weekly intervals were used. Performed analysis enabled to develop the algorithm which, due to the fact that energy plantations are of known and constant planting structure, allows to estimate the actual amount of willow basket biomass on the plantation with a given probability and accuracy specified by the model, based on the number of stems measured and the age of the plantation.

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